Digital Music Management

There's no question that the computer is at the heart of the recorded music experience for many people, but saving, sorting, and accessing digital music files can be a real chore. Now two Los Angeles technology companies have combined forces to create what they are calling "one-click" digital music management.

The two, Savage Beast Technologies and Auditude, have created a new music management software called Celestial Home Jukebox, which will "enable consumers to identify and organize all of their digital music files, automatically build playlists, and receive personalized recommendations," according to an October 31 announcement. "Producers of music jukebox software, CD recorder software, digital home stereo equipment, and portable devices will be able to license this software to help their end-users get the most enjoyment from their music collections." The first version will be available later this year, the partners promise.

Celestial Home Jukebox provides one button labeled "Organize Music:" With one click, it launches a scan of the user's music collection, identifies songs, renames and retags the files with metadata, and places them into appropriate playlists based on information including genre, instrumentation, mood, rhythm, tempo, vocal style, performance, and many other characteristics—in effect, automating a disc jockey's skills. Users can also build playlists by selecting one or more "seed songs." Celestial Home Jukebox then generates an "intelligent list" based on those selections. The software also provides more advanced controls for users who wish to customize their music libraries. Auditude's system works by creating a digital "thumbprint" of an audio source, allowing the software to identify over three million songs regardless of a missing filename, ID tag, or other identifying information. It does so "without inserting a watermark or altering the file in any way." Savage Beast spent two years compiling the "Music Genome Project" database, described in the announcement as "a rich, granular taxonomy of music that understands individual songs across more than 400 characteristics."

Savage Beast/Auditude's technology may make things more efficient for the digital music industry, too. "It's one thing to transfer a legal collection of music onto a hard drive. It's a completely different thing to be able to convert that collection into easily accessible entertainment," said former Warner/Reprise president Howie Klein. "The Savage Beast/Auditude solution is something I've needed for a long time with my own collection." Celestial Home Jukebox will be available later this year. The technology partners hope it will become available "with all of the leading electronic jukeboxes and devices over the next 12 months . . . to give all digital music consumers an exciting new way to interact with and organize their music collections," said Auditude CEO Shawn Yeager.